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FREDERIC SACKRIDER REMINGTON (American, 1861-1909) Bron
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FREDERIC SACKRIDER REMINGTON (American, 1861-1909) Bronco Buster #16, 1895 Bronze with patina 23 inches (58.4 cm) Signed on base: Frederic Remington Foundry mark on base: Cast by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Co-1895 PROVENANCE: Tiffany & Company, New York; Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Olcott; Thence by decent to Dudley Olcott; Thence by decent to Leontine Olcott, New York, 1950; William Doyle Galleries, New York, 1981; Private collection; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York; The Boatmen's National Bank, St. Louis, Missouri. LITERATURE M. Greenbaum, Icons of the West: Frederic Remington's Sculptures; Ogdensburg, New York, 1996, p. 171. Frederic Remington's Bronco Buster is perhaps the quintessential image of American Western Art. This work represents Remington's first venture into sculpture, having already established himself as a celebrated easel painter. While Remington was not the first artist to depict this classic struggle between rider and horse, he may well have been the most successful in terms of capturing the movement, drama, and pure energy of the struggle. As the sixteenth casting pulled from Remington's original mold, this early casting by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company is a particularly desirable one for connoisseurs of western art. Most likely cast in 1895, the fine details and light brown patina reflect the fact that this was among the very first of its kind. Remington produced his first bronzes, such as Bronco Buster, through the sand casting technique. Unlike the lost-wax method used by the Roman Bronze Works, which allowed the artist to adjust the model during the later castings, the sand casting method used by the Bonnard foundry was technically unforgiving. Sand casting was a more laborious and intricate process which did not allow for compositional changes of any kind. Bronzes made through this labor-intensive process normally produced a much finer and more detailed work. The Bronco Buster would have required the production of ten separately cast pieces which would have been assembled to form the finished bronze sculpture. Such early castings, as the one featured here, are as close to Remington's original model and artistic intent as possible. Remington used Henry-Bonnard exclusively for all of his bronzes between 1895 and 1900. In all, 64 castings were completed before Remington switched to the Roman Bronze Works. According to Michael Greenbaum, the first versions of The Bronco Buster produced at Roman Bronze Works were produced from a mold made by encasing one of the Henry-Bonnard originals in plaster. The result of which would have been a slightly less detailed bronze. That is not the case with this early Henry-Bonnard sculpture which has a particularly lustrous patina that highlights the many authentic details that Remington added to horse and rider. By the time he tried his hand at sculpting and produced the Bronco Buster in 1895, Remington had already gained national prominence as an illustrator and critical acclaim as a painter. Remarkably, he had no prior training or experience in sculpting when he started work on what came to be his signature piece of art. He was delighted with the results of his first sculpting effort, writing to his friend, the writer Owen Wister, that "my oils will all get old...my watercolors will fade, but I am to endure in bronze."
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